Shannon asks: My boyfriend won’t believe me – he thinks I am lying to him. Instead, he believes his ex girlfriend, who used to be my friend, but we have broken up our friendship. What should I do?
Hi Shannon –
So, of course, I don’t know what your boyfriend thinks you’re lying about. Maybe his ex is saying you’re being mean to him, saying things behind his back, or even running around with other boys. But regardless, it really comes down to one thing – closeness.
You see, she used to be the closest one to him. And back then, he cared a ton about everything she did. If she stood too closely to another boy, then that might bother him. If she called him a name, that might bother him. If she didn’t return a call from him quickly enough, that might bother him.
And now she’s out of that position, and you’re in it. And more importantly, if she lies to him, it doesn’t mean that much, but if YOU lie to him, it means tons.
This is how betrayers can get lies into lovers’ heads. Because he fears you lying so much more than he does her, if a situation arises where what one of you says disagrees with the other, he’s going to naturally suspect you! It’s crazy, but it’s really math!
One of the greatest plays ever written is about just this. It’s by Shakespeare, called “Othello.” In it, a powerful general’s best friend works to destroy him, not by murder or sabotage, but just through getting him to believe that his wife is cheating on him. No matter how much she insists she’s innocent, she can’t convince him – till it’s too late.
So you’re Desdemona, your boyfriend is Othello, and this ex-friend of yours is Iago. And your job is to convince your boyfriend not to listen to her.
Now here’s the hard part here. You probably can’t convince him that you’re innocent. Rather, you need to expose her as a liar. If you can do that – if you can get him to see her lying about something else – then you can get him to suspect that she’s been telling him untruths.
And what makes that really hard is that he’s already suspecting you!
So this is really hard! And if you’re going to do it, you’ll need to keep two facts in mind. First, that if it doesn’t work at all, if he chooses to believe her and not you, you’ll end up better off. You deserve something better than a boyfriend who doesn’t believe you, and would believe his ex instead.
But second, if it does work, you two might move into a more trusting relationship. He might learn that you’re deeply trustworthy, and you might find ways to trust him more too. In a funny way, this troublemaking ex might be the best thing that’s happened to you and your boyfriend!
Good Luck with it. At least, better luck than Desdemona had!